For White Ribbon November, let’s put the focus on men.
SVS Living Safe is calling for people to pay more attention to male perpetrators of violence during this month’s White Ribbon campaign because unless we do, New Zealand’s serious family violence problem won’t get better.
SVS Living Safe is an accredited provider of professional support services in the area of family violence. The White Ribbon campaign, which asks men to take ownership of this issue and model good behaviour, is in full swing this month backing the United Nations International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November.
Understanding why men commit violence and how they come to normalise this behaviour is critical to preventing future violence, says SVS Living Safe General Manager Dee Cresswell.
“We start by talking and listing to the men who walk through our door,” Ms Cresswell says. “Building trust through talking is so important. These men need to know they are worthy of our time and effort. We can’t just punish them, send them away, and expect them to get better. We need to understand them and help them see there’s a better way than violence.”
She says the actions of violent men can’t be ignored, but the cycle of violence won’t be broken if punishment is the only answer.
“We must hold these men to account, absolutely, but New Zealand’s approach is too often is to punish these men and separate them from their entire support system and hope they learn a new lesson.
“Our experience is that if we treat them with respect and uphold their mana, they feel respected and they start to widen their lens on the world to see how others perceive them. Then they start to truly understand the effects of their actions and work toward lifelong change.”
With one in three women in New Zealand having experienced physical and/or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime, Ms Cresswell says we cannot afford to keep applying the same solution to this problem and expect different results.
“For years the focus has been on assisting the victim and punishing the perpetrator. Let’s try a different way. Let’s talk to these men and listen to their stories. Often by helping them identify their own pain and trauma and supporting them to change they start to see a new way forward.”
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About SVS Living Safe
SVS Living Safe is an accredited provider of professional support services in the area of family harm and violence. SVS is an acronym/stands for Stopping Violence Services. Our approach is to work with the entire family/whānau – including the perpetrator of the harm – to develop sustainable ways of preventing future violence. We believe this family-centred approach gives everyone a better chance to create change and live safely.
The specialist training of our clinicians enables them to provide a broad range of services to those in need. They are trained counsellors and social workers with significant education in their specialised fields. To be accredited to work with SVS Living Safe, our staff undertake further on-the-job training in the area of family harm.
For more than 35 years, we have helped individuals and families seek and achieve real change. We serve communities in Nelson, Tasman, the West Coast, Marlborough and Kaikoura. Our primary office is in Nelson.
Read more at www.svs.org.nz or on Facebook @svslivingsafe.